Sansar profile 5: the potential of marketing

Sansar from Linden Lab

So, in my last look at Sansar’s preview videos, I made mention of a desire to see something of a focus on creators from outside the Second Life catchment.

On Wednesday, July 26th, I got my wish, as the fifth Sansar preview video hit the airwaves with a look at the work of Unit 9, a London-based studio specialising in content creation in a range of mediums – film, digital, games, VR and “experiential”. They have an impressive list of global clients / partners including Google, Yamaha, 20th Century Fox, Samsung, Mercedes-Benz, Save The Children, Sprint, Delta, the UK’s Channel 4 TV, and so on.

Within Sansar, Unit 9 – under the leadership of Anrick, a director specialising in VR and promotional / marketing films working for clients like Saatchi & Saatchi  and Toyota – has built “Monkey Temple”. I’m not exaggerating when I say this is quite possibly one of the most immersive environments I’ve seen thus far in Sansar – and I’m still sans a headset!

In building Monkey Temple, Anrick and his team have attempted to incorporate many of Sansar’s abilities as they are currently available – and it is fair to say they have succeeded. This is a rich environment, beautifully lit with a creative (if tightly looped) sound scape with a lot to see and a few things to do (providing you have the headset and accompanying controllers!).

Monkey Temple, Sansar preview 5

Whether by accident or design (far more likely the former), this piece is pretty much exemplifies the thrust of my thoughts in writing about the fourth preview video: that while leaning towards a Second Life audience as the first four videos in the series have done, Linden Lab needs to look beyond the shores of SL and the cadre of SL creators working in Sansar if they want to reach the markets they’ve indicated as being of interest to them.

As a director and creator, Anrick offers precise and clear insight into the sheer power of world-building as enabled by Sansar, – and for professionals like him, there is little doubt that Sansar could be a tool / environment of enormous potential. While Monkey Temple itself might initially come across as little more than a visually impressive place with nice sounds and things to do, it actually goes far beyond this, pointing the way to how studio houses such as Unit 9 could leverage a platform for delivering immersive visual and interactive environments which help their own clients entice and engage their desired audience – all  potentially on a fraction of the budget which might otherwise be required.

Unit 9’s Anrick

In this, marketing and promotion is one of the obvious verticals where VR could – and is starting to – play a noticeable role. We’ve already seen very high-tech VR experiences offered to the public alongside new films, etc. With Sansar and roadshows at events, there is potential for companies to offer captive audiences a VR experience focused on a product, service or entertainment. It doesn’t necessarily have to be all rock’n’roll and high-tech thrills; many promotional opportunities at shows and conferences could be much lower-key and simply involve the expertise of studios like Unit 9, a good Internet connection and a booth-like environment with PCs and headsets supplied.

One could argue that more of this needs to perhaps be explained in the video, but I’d disagree; anyone involved in the sectors Unit 9 operates within would more than likely pick-up the message loud and clear. One might also argue that building in Sansar really isn’t as simple as this (and the other videos) portray; the Sansar marketplace notwithstanding, truly original content requires 3D modelling skills which not everyone has. But again, where this video is concerned, that’s perhaps not the point.

Monkey Temple, Sansar preview 5

Should an organisation want an immersive environment designed and built – be it for marketing, training, or whatever – and they don’t have the requisite design skills in-house, this video sends the message that the expertise they might need is already engaged on the platform, and has a track record of content delivery. In this, everyone is potentially a winner: the client gets what they want, the studio is hired for its expertise and Sansar provides the delivery mechanism, with the revenue from doing so passing to Linden Lab.

Obviously, this isn’t going to happen overnight, or even in the short-term as Sansar opens its doors; but over time, the potential is certainly there.

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